22 Ways Coconut Oil Can Change Your Life
A staple of life in the tropics for centuries, coconut oil has finally knocked everyone stateside for a loop. We have gone from a society that’s barely aware of coconut oil to a society that buys millions of jars annually – all in the space of a decade. What’s so special about it? It has about a thousand uses, and get this: a lot of them work. All you need is a jar of virgin coconut oil and this list of coconut oil’s 22 best life-changing uses. Save money and time while you get fabulous hair, health, skin, and much more!
1. Gently remove stubborn eye makeup.
This tip makes helps you ace two of the biggest beauty rules ever passed down at once. First is to remove all of your makeup at night. Second is to never tug at your delicate eye area. Using a dab of coconut oil, either on your ring finger or on cotton pad, swipe away waterproof mascara, primed shadows and thick eyeliner. The result is a clean, conditioned eye area with no irritation.
2. Use it as a dairy-free coffee creamer.
Have you ever looked at the label on your favorite flavored coffee creamer? There are a lot of partially hydrogenated oils and preservatives. The idea that coconut oil can replace creamer in coffee sounds unbelievable, but you won’t know unless you try. A heaping spoonful or two of coconut oil with lighten up your cup of joe and add just a touch of coconut flavor and aroma. Bonus points for the brain-boosting healthy fats!
3. Oil pulling!
If you’ve been reading about oil pulling for years but still haven’t tried it, now’s the time. Some oil pullers will tell you that you can detox your entire body by swishing a spoonful of coconut oil around your mouth, but the jury’s out on that one. What you absolutely will do is kill bacteria in your mouth that cause bad breath and collect and harden to become plaque. Your tips and tongue will be smoother and moisturized, and yes, it whitens teeth. It’s really simple, too – just take a teaspoon of coconut oil straight from the jar and swish it around for ten minutes.
4. Get a closer, smoother shave.
There’s really no reason to buy cans of shaving cream at the store. They have fragrances and alcohol that are drying to the skin, so in many cases you get the opposite of what you thought you were buying – itchy dry skin and razor bumps. It can also be really hard to keep the thin frothy stuff on your legs in the shower, as it rinses and slides right off. Slather on some coconut oil instead, and get a tug-free, flawless shave. Just be careful – when the oil is rinsed off, it can make the floor of your shower slippery.
5. Moisturize those cuticles.
Can you believe that cuticle removal was ever a thing? We don’t want flaky, dehydrated nail beds, but tiny scabs and wounded skin aren’t a good look either. Coconut oil is rich in vitamin E and makes a great cuticle oil. If you choose to push back your cuticles (just a bit; no reason to go all the way!) it softens them up enough to do so easily. It’s also great for nail growth and as an overall hand cream.
6. Restore dry, damaged strands.
One of coconut oil’s most attractive q
ualities is its molecular structure. It’s one of the few oils that can actually penetrate the hair shaft, which is why it’s become so wildly popular as a pre-shampoo conditioning treatment. Hair that is chemically processed or just naturally parched is much shiner and manageable after soaking in coconut oil for a few hours. Since it is so intensely moisturizing, you may need to shampoo twice to remove all of the oil. A tiny dab can also be used on dry, styled hair as a frizz-fighting finishing balm.
7. Keep your pets healthy.
This use could populate its own list. Coconut oil is safe for pets who are suffering from rough patches on their skin or lackluster coats. The saturated fats in coconut oil fall in line with the dietary needs of dogs and cats, so it can be applied topically or given internally. It can even aid fur babies who are dealing with digestion woes. One bonus for cats is that coconut oil consumption reduces the incidence of hairballs.
8. Keep cold sores from worsening.
When it comes to your face, the only thing more embarrassing than a pimple is a cold sore. That’s because it arrives as a result of the herpes simplex virus, which sounds just awful, but it’s a very common variety of the virus that can be transmitted through basic means, such as the sharing of utensils. Next time you feel one coming on, apply coconut oil immediately. Coconut oil is antibacterial and antiviral and will stop it from spreading and causing more discoloration and discomfort. And after you apply the oil, don’t touch it!
9. You can even polish your furniture!
There’s been a big boom lately in people who want to formulate their own all-natural, DIY household cleaners, and of course coconut oil has a few uses in this area. The best household use has to be as a furniture polish. You may never suspect, but aerosol polishes can be very drying to your wooden furniture, merely leaving a shiny, waxy coat on top of dehydrated wood. Coconut oil, on the other hand, is truly conditioning. Dip a soft cloth in some oil, melted or solid, and buff to a dust-repellent high shine.
10. Make your own all-natural deodorant.
Many are surprised to discover that they really don’t need chemical-laden deos with giant lists of ingredients that they may or may not have a reaction to. In fact, using coconut oil as a deodorant base keep underarms softer and more even-toned while killing smelly bacteria. Simply mix a tablespoon or so of baking soda into melted coconut oil and refrigerate into a solid that can be rubbed under arms. This recipe is also highly customizable. You can add shea butter for more skin conditioning, and essential oils for pleasant fragrance.
11. Keep cast iron pans in top shape.
How many of you keep a jar of lard around? Probably not too many, but it’s long been thought that straight-up animal fat is the best way to season cast iron pots and pans. If you’re vegan (or just not into lard), use coconut oil. Use a paper towel to apply a thin layer to your cast iron and get cooking. Bonus: while you’re in the kitchen with your oil, apply it to your wooden cutting boards as well.
12. Massage into rough patches on your face…
You can use coconut oil as a cleansing balm to melt off grime and makeup before water cleansing. It’s a fantastic substitute for stripping cleansers that make skin feel rough and tight. Its anti-inflammatory properties are good for soothing redness as well. It can also be used as a last step in your skin care regimen to lock in moisture and keep other actives from skincare products in place. Just beware if you’re acne-prone; some swear that coconut oil heals their acne, but it can cause major breakouts in others. Patch test!
13. …and your body!
Coconut oil truly is good for you from your head to your toes. It’s safe for delicate areas and is effective at treating all kinds of skin conditions. Just like with hair, coconut oil can penetrate more layers of the epidermis than other kinds of oils and butters. Smear it all over after bathing and massage until mostly absorbed. Not only will you be soft and smooth, coconut oil imparts a glow to skin that’ll make you look otherworldly!
14. Keep food storage containers free of stains.
This one may sound weird, but hear us out on this money-saving tip. Coconut oil can be used to keep plastic containers from staining. Reusable plastic food storage containers, like Tupperware, can be stained by soups, sauces, and other dishes, making it unappealing when you go to reuse it. To eliminate this, spread a thin layer of coconut oil and let it sit for a bit before filling it up. The plastic will remain clear and be less likely to smell like the last thing you stored in it. Yuck.
15. Get thicker, lusher lashes and brows.
The same proteins and fatty acids that the hair on your head soaks up is great for lashes and brows, too. Before bed each night, dip a clean spoolie in coconut oil. Coat your lashes in the good stuff, and run what’s left across your brows. After a few weeks, you should notice that individual hairs are growing in thicker, and lash loss should be reduced. It also works during the daytime for a no-makeup, yet still groomed, kind of look.
16. Heal wounds, bites, burns…and fresh tattoos!
It really should say “SKIN REPAIR” on more jars of coconut oil. Coconut oil is comprised of more than 50% lauric acid, which is antimicrobial. That much lauric acid is really hard to find in nature! Encourage proper healing after getting freshly inked with a dollop of coconut oil. Coconut oil applied to bug bites and burns itch less and have a reduced chance of becoming infected, too.
17. Boost immunity!
What’s in your cold and flu season arsenal? Hopefully, you haven’t forgotten the coconut oil. In addition to lauric acid, coconut oil is a good source of caprylic acid, and both are effective at sorting out viruses, yeast overgrowth, and all kinds of undesirable stuff. It’s even shown to prevent the flu. Consume coconut oil straight off of the spoon, or add it to your coffee as suggested in our second tip.
18. Add it to your bath.
So good we could bathe in it, coconut oil is an awesome addition to a therapeutic bath. You can make your own DIY bath bombs and melts, or just dump a cup of it straight into very warm water. Use it in combination with Epsom salts, essential oils, and other beneficial ingredients like apple cider vinegar. Nothing will set dry winter skin straight like a deeply moisturizing detox bath. Word of caution – you might not want to take a coconut oil bath more than once a week or so, since it can re-solidify after going down the drain and clog pipes.
19. Prevent stretch marks.
Coconut oil’s fatty acids are at it again. The oil’s penetration ability, along with the fortification to cells provided by medium-chain fatty acids, are good for preventing stretch marks during pregnancy. Expectant women should massage growing tummies with coconut oil a few times each day. Add it to cocoa butter for even more efficacy. Already have stretch marks? No problem; coconut oil can lighten them, so massage away.
20. Enjoy more regular, efficient digestion.
The medium-chain triglycerides, also known as MCTs, in coconut oil are easily absorbed by the digestive tract. How is this different from other fats and oils? Well, long-chain fatty acids have a tendency to be highly inflammatory, and inflammation in the digestive tract is the cause of many syndromes. Coconut oil can relieve diarrhea and constipation. One study comparing it to long-chain fatty acids found that MCTs like those found in coconut oil had twice the absorption rate, so the anti-inflammatory properties could really get to work.
21. It’s a cheap, nontoxic nipple and diaper cream.
There are a lot of products marketed specifically to mother and baby. Stroll the aisles, and you’ll find that giving birth apparently requires the acquisition of roughly 500 new products you never knew you needed. Here are two that coconut oil can replace right away – nipple cream and diaper ointment. Coconut oil is safe for nipples toughened by breastfeeding and sensitive bottoms alike. It can also be used as a remedy for baby acne and cradle cap. The only word of caution is to be sure that mother and child aren’t allergic to coconuts.
22. It can even make your car’s interior gleam!
Coconut oil can lubricate an engine. If you’re not lubing up your own car parts, you can still use it to clean your car’s interior. After a thorough removal of debris, polish all surfaces with a little coconut oil (really, you only need a little). Surfaces will be less prone to drying out and cracking from sun exposure. And as we revealed in tip number nine, it’s a natural dust repellant.